A great idea + creative masses = amazing results

Dear Photograph, Our wedding was the sweetest day, just like Grandma's chocolate." - Onno

Think of all the great creative minds and the world’s best ideas, and you might come away thinking that creative genius is found by an individual toiling away alone. I think this can happen occasionally, but not often. Beyond that, the ideas may be great, but they could have been improved by having other input. It seems apparent that one person can only take an idea so far until it reaches is maximum potential. At that point, better results can be found by bringing in other creative types to add their own contributions. It’s in this secondary stage that truly beautiful and profound things begin to happen.

Here’s an example: Dear Photograph. The idea is imaginative yet simple: take a new photo of an old photo and write a caption that captures your thoughts about the moment. It’s a nice idea. But when this idea gets unleashed to the creative masses, amazing things begin happening.

There’s a photograph a cancer survivor Eric Richter and his daughter with the caption “Her love was my chemo.” There’s the photograph of a man looking down at the photo of he and his wife on a bench: “Thank you for everything we had.” Or the photo of of a father and two kids standing in a hardscrabble yard: “We had nothing, but you gave me everything.” Or two kids sitting together on a Lazy Boy chair: “Dear Photograph, I wish I treated you better when we were in high school.”

The site is only about a month old and displays less that 50 photos. They are poignant, heartfelt, and beautiful in their ability to uniquely capture two distinct moments at once. You can be sure that this will be a hit. It’s nearly impossible to ignore, and in just a few minutes, you’ll have ideas of your own to share. And I hope you do; I can’t wait to see them.

Go visit Dear Photograph right now. Let me know what you think.

Guatemalan sinkholes say, “Time to move.”

In 2007, a 300-foot deep sink hole opened up in Guatemala City, leaving this view behind:

300-foot sinkhole in Guatemala City, 2007

300-foot sinkhole in Guatemala City, 2007

Pretty amazing. And you would think it would be a fairly rare occurrence for something this freaking big to just suddenly show up in the middle of the street. Until, of course, the next one opens up a few years later and swallows a three story building. Oh, and this one is about 60 feet across and more than 300 feet deep:

300-foot sinkhole in Guatemala City, opened 2010

300-foot sinkhole in Guatemala City, opened 2010

It seems obvious to me that aliens are perfecting their laser drilling from space.

Not quite the same, but two related stories:

Beautiful photos from space on Twitter

This might just be one of the coolest uses of Twitter I’ve seen: Japanese Astronaut Souichi Noguchi is aboard the International Space Station, sailing around the globe and taking pictures of the Earth with digital cameras. He’s then posting them to Twitter (yes, from Space) along with captions telling you what you’re looking at. What a great way to see what our planet looks like from a very distinct point of view. To see images as they’re updated, you can follow Noguchi on Twitter. Here are a couple of examples:<

Mount Fuji, Japan. 3,776m. The highest mountain in Japan

Bahrain. Feel like fishing?

Aruba Antiles, near Venezuela. Beautiful!

Lily’s Creek


After hiking through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on Thursday, we stopped on the way back out of the park and walked down to a clear (and very cold) mountain stream. The kids had changed out of their boots and into their Crocs and were walking around on the rocks in the creek. Fearful that they might slip and fall in, I told them all to take off their shoes and walk around barefoot. I have some priceless video of this… the water was probably 50 degrees.

Well, it was only a matter of time before it happened: Lily, while standing fairly close to me, slipped and fell. She got up, slipped again, and I grabbed her on the way down. She slipped again while we were trying to get/keep our footing but I still had ahold of her, so she was okay at this point. (I should also note that the water was moving pretty fast and was probably 3 feet deep right next to where she slipped. Oh, I was also holding the video camera through all of this… tense moments!)

She was crying, not because she was hurt, but because she was terrified. After a few minutes, she got herself under control and we walked up to the car to change out of her wet clothes. I mentioned while we were walking how proud I was of her because she dealt with it and got over it very quickly. It was impressive.

Later that night, we were sitting in a restaurant and Char asked the kids to turn over their placemats and draw a picture of their favorite thing from the day. Of course, Jack drew picture of Lily falling in the creek and crying. (He’s such a putz!)

When we asked them to share their pictures, Lily got pretty bashful and started crossing things off and hiding it. It was clear she didn’t want us to see it, so (of course!) we forced it out of her. To my surprise, she had also drawn a picture of her falling into the creek. Except in her picture, though she was dripping wet, she was smiling. She had also included me in her picture holding on to her. She wrote, “The best part of my day was falling into the creek because Dad was there to catch me.”

Here’s a picture of what will always be known as “Lily’s Creek.”

Could this become one of the most famous photos in history?

squirrel crashes photo
Not that it ranks up there with that shot of the South Vietnamese guy paying out what he thought was righteous (and quick) justice, but I wonder, in this age of the Internet, if this might become just as well known. It will certainly be known by lots of people more quickly.

The story, in case you’re interested, is that Melissa Brandts and her husband were hiking in Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada. They decided to take a portrait of themselves with Lake Minnewanka in the background (no doubt for the annual “look at the cool places we went and you didn’t” holiday letter). Melissa set up the camera and went back to pose, and her husband held the remote shutter release.

Meanwhile, attracted by the sounds of the autofocus, an inquisitive Columbian ground squirrel, common in the park, popped up to investigate. Click! “Self-Portrait With Ground Squirrel” was born.

Personally, I think it should still make the holiday card, even though by then, everyone will have already seen it.